Engineering News

Braskem plans polythene plant running on ethanol
Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:54pm EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's petrochemical giant Braskem said on Monday it plans to build a groundbreaking 200,000 tonnes a year polythene plant that will use sugar cane-based ethanol as raw material instead of oil products.

The plant should come on stream in late 2009, Braskem said in a statement. It did not say what the planned investment was.

Braskem said its working small-scale pilot project for such production has made it the pioneer in making polythene from completely renewable raw materials. It said it has already made contacts with potential clients to sell it the product.

Braskem is the No.1 thermoplastic resins producer in Latin America.

Polythene, also known as polyethylene, is used in food wrapping products, automobile industry, cosmetics and personal hygiene products. The thermoplastic has the same physical characteristics as normal polythene and requires no additional investment by plastic industry companies, Braskem said.

At a time of record high oil prices, Braskem said it was also doing research to produce biopolymers, like polypropylene, from biomass. The petrochemical industry uses oil product naphtha as one of its main ingots.

Brazil is the world's second-biggest producer of ethanol after the United States but its ethanol made of sugar cane is much cheaper to produce than the corn-based fuel made in the United States.

Latin America's largest country uses growing amounts of ethanol to power flex-fuel cars and exports billions of liters of its ethanol a year.

Source: Reuters

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